As I go over in this blog post (2.D.xxxiii), the text of LP 99a given by this Italian anthology has a few words I can't explain. Here is the glossary portion of the note to the text:

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Now, the text is:

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The translation reading:

… shortly after … the Polyanactid … … to the Samean (?) women … make to resonate on the strings … which the plactra receive banqueting friendlily with such people and lovably the harp vibrates, and the sound (penetrates) through the bones and, when it's inside, runs [through] the medulla.

So my question is: what is each and every word of l. 5? Or more specifically:

  1. Where is περκαθθώμενος from?
  2. What kind of word is δόκοισι, what does it mean, and what is its dictionary form?
  3. What form of ὄλισβος should be read here? A singular to go with that participle in item 1, or a plural to translate as such as the translation does?


This paper indicates I was reading two words where there was only ὀλισβοδόκοισι, which I presume is from ὄλισβος and δέκεσθαι via some ablaut. This then means "which receive the plectrum" (since that is the meaning suggested by the paper in this context, though ὄλισβος otherwise always means dildo). So the correct reading to get the translation would be ὀ̣λ̣ι̣σ̣β̣οδόκο̣ι̣σ̣‹ι›, where, to fit my custom, I should use underlining to denote a guess at an unreadable letter, but that doesn't work here, so I used code markup instead. In fact, depending on the raw transcription of the rest of the word, I might need more underlines. Ah no, the paper says otherwise.

Sadly, the paper doesn't comment on περκαθθώμενος, which is why this is an UPDATE and not an answer.

This means that "which the plectra receive" is a stroke of genius where, in a fragmentary thing, you start a piece with a relative that subverts the SVO order to have the object before the verb, and there should be a comma after that, and after that ὀλισβοδόκοισι.

  • 2
    I'm afraid I don't have an explanation for θωμενος either, so I can't fully answer question 1—but it's worth noting that the difference between τθ and θθ is an entirely stylistic one. Phonologically there was no distinction between them (either way the aspiration came only at the end of the cluster), so it was just up to scribal convention, and with a text this corrupt I wouldn't put much stock in the choice of one over the other.
    – Draconis
    Jul 28, 2019 at 17:41
  • @draconis I assume the same holds for πφ vs. φφ and κχ vs. χχ, right?
    – MickG
    Jul 28, 2019 at 18:53
  • 1
    Yep, and any other combinations of voiceless + aspirated stops. It's why nobody can agree whether the English adjective should be "cthonic" or "chthonic": χθ and κθ were pronounced identically so the choice is a conventional one.
    – Draconis
    Jul 28, 2019 at 19:28
  • 1
    @MickG: From what I remember, the modern Greek pronunciation of δίφθογγος is definitely not a regular, as in Demotic, development, because in Demotic sequences of two fricatives were generally avoided (in the case of φθ, Demotic would use /ft/ φτ instead). I'm also doubtful about the /pf/ outcome being regular as opposed to a learned pronunciation based on the spelling with πφ.
    – Asteroides
    Aug 6, 2019 at 18:03
  • 1
    @MickG: φθ and πτ correspond to Demotic /ft/, χθ and κτ correspond to Demotic /xt/, σθ, σχ, σφ correspond to Demotic /st/, /sk/, /sp/. relevant Google Books page
    – Asteroides
    Aug 6, 2019 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


Just to avoid leaving this unanswered, @NickNicholas has traced the word at hand to the Doric (and Aeolic?) verb thôsthai, to banquet, thanks to a translation of "Una mitra per Cleis: Saffo e il suo pubblico", by F. Ferrari, which gives two uses of that verb as comparanda. The word is a hapax, in fact, the first attestation of this verb, which would be pĕrkatthôsthai (double theta or tau-theta as you please since, as @draconis commented, the choice was purely stylistical.

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